By Ayla Jean Yackley
ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Supporters of a pro-Kurdish newspaper on Tuesday, June 21, protested against the arrest of three prominent activists facing terrorism charges in Turkey and said the government was tightening its grip on independent media in a case being watched by the European Union.
About 200 people chanted “The free press cannot be silenced” as riot police stood by outside daily Ozgur Gundem, a day after a court arrested Reporters Without Borders (RSF) representative Erol Onderoglu, author Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci, president of Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation.
The three had joined a “solidarity campaign” with nearly 50 other journalists to guest-edit the paper for a day each. Ozgur Gundem focuses on the Kurdish conflict and has faced dozens of investigations, fines and the arrest of a dozen correspondents since 2014. Other guest editors are also being investigated or prosecuted on terrorism-related charges.
“The court, directed by the palace and acting on its orders, once again has signed its name to a shameful decision and arrested our three friends,” editor Inan Kizilkaya said, referring to President Tayyip Erdogan’s office.
The presidency said it would not comment on court cases.